Saturday, December 29, 2007

Federal judge refuses to block new Arizona law

The state of Arizona has the right to penalize businesses which knowingly hire illegal immigrants. On December 28, a federal judge refused to stall or halt the January 1 implementation of a new state law that will penalize businesses which knowingly hire illegal immigrants. U.S. District Judge Neil Wake denied requests for a temporary restraining order.

Those who would suffer the most from a temporary restraining order would be legal low-skill workers, who would lose jobs and get depressed wages due to competition from illegal immigrants, said Wake. "Even if the injunction is lifted later, their loss will never be paid back," he said. Under the law, employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers can face suspensions of their business licenses for up to 10 days. Repeat violators would have their licenses revoked.

Businesses and advocacy groups already have asked the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an injunction blocking the law. Their requests were filed with appeals of an earlier ruling in which Wake dismissed initial versions of the group's lawsuits.

Those who challenge the law contend that it has the state intruding on the federal government's responsibility for immigration enforcement and is unfair to both employers and workers. The business groups argue that the system posed costly burdens for employers, especially small businesses without computers or human-resource staffs.

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